poker chips guide

 

 Standard Poker Chips Values and Colors 

Along with those playing cards, poker chips are a huge part of any game. Chips of varying colours can represent money in a cash game. They also use certain values during tournaments.

It’s something most players take for granted. Players simply buy in and take a seat at the table. They start riffling those poker chips as they wait to get dealt in on the next hand.

Let’s go into depth about the various colours, values and denominations of poker chips across the globe.

Table of Contents

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Common Poker Chip Values and Colours

  • White - $1
  • Red - $5
  • Orange - $10
  • Yellow - $20
  • Green - $25
  • Black - $100
  • Purple - $500
  • Maroon - $1,000

poker tournament chips

Tournament chip value and colours may differ. It’s essential to note that most tournament chips do not represent actual dollar values. These are merely amounts used throughout the tournament. Players start with a certain amount and hope to increase that as blind levels increase.

Blind levels are increased throughout a tournament so there is more action. This way players begin to get eliminated. Some tournaments may allow re-entries and players can receive another starting stack.

As players progress through the tournament, lower value chip may be “coloured off”. More coloured chips with larger denominations are worked into the tournament.    

The goal is to accumulate all the chips in play and ultimately you have them all – meaning you’ve won the tournament.

Here’s a look at some examples for tournament values.

Notice that these do not represent any actual monetary values. So standard symbols for dollars, pounds, or euros aren’t used.
 

Poker Chip Values in Tournaments and Cash Games

poker chips values

 

Players and casinos have long used chips to represent cash and make it easier to wager. A player’s chips are his weapons. They vary  in colour and denomination based on the stakes involved or level in a tournament.

For example, here’s a look at chip values one might find in cash game in a Las Vegas Strip property:

 

 


Poker Chip Values and Colours in Poker Tournaments

  • White - 25
  • Red - 50
  • Orange - 100
  • Yellow - 500
  • Green - 1,000
  • Black - 5,000
  • Purple - 10,000


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The Basics of Poker Chip Values and Colors

Like cash games, tournament chips are coloured to represent different values. Players begin with a standard number of chips. They hope to build them up throughout the tournament. 

Those small-coloured markers come in numerous colours and weights. Players use them in home games, cash games, and major tournaments around the world.
 
Want to know the history of this critical part of the game? Need some ideas for some chip-shopping for your home poker room? 888poker Magazine has you covered with everything you might ever want to know about those multi-coloured markers.

In poker, the value of a chip depends on the game or event. Values in cash games are a direct representation of cash. Players in a $1/$2 No Limit Hold’em game who buy in for $300 will receive that amount in chip value.

Colours vary by casino but tend to follow similar patterns at least for lower values.

There is no certain casino standard. Although white and red tend to be $1 and $5 amounts. Denominations can also go higher for players in some real high-stakes action.

For higher denominations, some properties like the Borgata also have larger sized chips. These sizes include a $500 (purple/yellow) and $1,000 (orange/black).

The larger sizes make it difficult to confuse such a high value chip with others in a game with such higher stakes. This may not be the case at every property.

For an example of a high-stakes cash game, check out PokerGO’s popular Poker After Dark. The show is filmed at the PokerGO Studio at the Aria Resort and Casino. It has featured some of the game’s biggest names. It also showcases celebrities who enjoy mixing it up at the felt.

Massive pots have been a major part of the action over the last few years. Buy-ins and chip stacks can vary. Here is a look at chip values from an episode that streamed in December 2019.

The event was a Sit and Go tournament with players starting with 125,000 in tournament chips.

These are the actual Aria tournament chips used in the event, with four different colours and values used to get the event started.

Aria poker tournament chips

Aria High Stakes Four Different Chip Values/Colours

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Determining Chip Values and Stack Sizes in a Home Game

If you’re looking at hosting a home game with friends, there are a few things to keep in mind. It’s crucial to figure out your tournament structure or cash game chip values.

For a cash game, working this out is much easier. A simple $1-2 No Limit Hold’em game with six to eight players should be fairly easy. One might decide to make white chips worth $1 and red chips worth $2.

A player buying in for $100 might receive:

Color

Value

Number of Chips

White

$1

10 ($10)

Red

$5

4 ($20)

Blue

$10

1 ($10)

Say your stakes are a little larger and you’re hosting a $2-5 No Limit Hold’em game with the same number of players. A similar guide can be crafted from the above. Most players will typically buy in a game for 50 to 200 big blinds.

Players usually need more denominations equal to the big blind as that is what they play the most.

If you decide to raise the stakes, you may need more chip denominations. In a bigger game such as $5-10, a player buying in for $1,000 (100 big blinds) might receive the following:

Color

Value

Number of Chips

Red

$5

10 ($50)

Blue

$10

10 ($100)

Green

$25

10 ($250)

Black

$100

6 ($600)

Poker game organizers need to determine how many chips might be needed, with several of each denomination. Having a few denominations make calling and raising in different values much easier.

Those hosting a tournament will also want to make sure ahead of time -

  • They have enough chips
  • Determine the value of those chips
  • Number of chips per player
  • Chip colours

A small tournament of less than 40 people will generally need only four or five colours. A tournament starting with 1,500 chips will find players starting with 60 big blinds. They’ll begin with Level 1 blinds of 25/25 before advancing to 25/50 and then 50/100. Obviously, blind levels may depend on the tournament.

Here’s a look at an example number of tournaments that players might start with in the above scenario.

Color

Value

Number of Chips

White

25

10 (250)

Red

50

5 (250)

Blue

100

5 (500)

Black

500

1 (500)

These starting stacks and chip values can be adjusted as needed, but this works well as a guide. Obviously, colours can also vary in both cash games and tournaments depending on the chip values.

A Look at Major Tournament Chip Values

Like cash games, tournament chips are coloured to represent different values. Players begin with a standard number of chips. They hope to increase those chips throughout the tournament.

Increasing blinds and antes require the addition of larger chip values. Smaller valued chips are coloured up and taken out of play.

The World Series of Poker can serve as an example of tournament colours and values. The annual event is the biggest spectacle in poker. It has several tournaments running on any given day during the series.

The action is highlighted by the $10,000 Main Event, featured on television around the world. Because of so many events, organizers use at least five different chip sets.

In general, most WSOP tournaments begin with green (25) and black (100). They switch up colours above those values for different events. For the Main Event, there has been a standard set of colours for the last several years.

Here’s a look at those chips with accent colours:

  • 25 – green with forest green/yellow
  • 100 – black with day blue/dark blue
  • 500 – desert flower with maroon/pink
  • 1000 – canary yellow with plum/sherbet orange
  • 5000 – blaze orange with dark brown/tan
  • 25,000 – forest green with blue/yellow
  • 50,000 – hot pink with lime green/dark green (rarely used anymore)
  • 100,000 – Hawaii flower with charcoal/metallic silver
  • 250,000 – almond with bronze/butterscotch
  • 500,000 – red with day blue/white

These values can also change, however. The WSOP has been known to alter them at the final table when filming for television. Here’s an example of the number of chips involved in an event of this size.

In 2018, it was Illinois’ John Cyn who took home the championship gold bracelet. He also walked away with $8.5 million after capturing all 393.8 million chips in play. It was a mountain of chips and a mountain of cash.

On the World Poker Tour, players usually start with 40,000 chips in most events. As an example, the Gardens Casino (located just outside Los Angeles) hosts two events each season –

  1. The $10,000 Gardens Poker Championship in January 
  2. The $5,000 Gardens Poker Festival in July

A player buying into either of those events can expect to receive the following breakdown of chips:

Color

Value

Number of Chips

Black and blue

100

10

Cotton candy (light blue and dark pink)

500

8

S'mores (brown and white)

1,000

5

Lemonade (light pink and yellow)

5,000

5

Here’s a look at the actual chips one would receive to start a WPT Championship event at the Gardens:

wpt poker chips 1         wpt-poker-chips


 

   

      

 

 

 

Poker Chip Colors in Europe and U.S.

Much of the above focuses on Las Vegas and other American casinos. Most U.S. casinos follow similar patterns as Vegas. They use multi-coloured chips for tournaments and cash games. They differentiate them for security.

Most are pretty similar. That's true for casino-heavy states like California, Florida, Nevada, New Jersey, and others.

In Europe, where poker continues to thrive, poker chips follow rules similar to those in the U.S. However, many properties also work in coloured “plaques” for larger denominations. These rectangular objects are the same as chips. They often appear in the later stages of major tournaments.

The plaques are probably unfamiliar to most lowerstakes players. But many feature unique colours and designs. They stand out among a player’s chip stack and vary a bit in size. Players looking to add some pizzazz to their home games can find them for sale online.

Chips can be distinctive and feature logos. They can also celebrate significant events or people. Binion’s Horseshoe is the birthplace of the World Series of Poker.

At one time, they honoured poker legends at the property as seen in this Tweet.

texas dolly chips tweet

Chips remain an essential part of poker. They represent money on the line as players bet and bluff with them. They’re a big part of what sets poker apart from other games.

As this guide shows, there are undoubtedly many considerations that go into using them.

Poker Chips  - FAQ

What are poker chip values?

Poker cash games and tournaments use chips to mean specific amounts. In a cash game, differing colours represent actual cash values. Poker chips are much easier to play with than actual cash.

You can be move them around a table easily, unlike cash. They are perfect for exchanging when making change quickly. In a tournament, chips don’t represent the actual cash amount that a player uses to buy in a tournament.

Instead, these are used for starting stacks. As a tournament progresses, blind levels escalate. Players must then play higher chip values. Poker chips offer an easy way to signify and play these escalating values.

The goal is to keep collecting those chips and see your own stack rise.

Why do poker players use chips, and what do the colours mean?

Chips represent a cash value or a tournament chip value. Players use chips to bet during a game or tournament. The goal is obviously to accumulate as many as possible.

In a cash game, that means bigger winnings that can be cashed out when a player decides to leave. In a tournament, a player’s starting stack of chips does not have to represent his entry fee.

However, chips are a player's life blood in a tournament – lose them and you’re eliminated.

A player who wins a tournament will have collected all the chips in play at the end.

How many chips does a person get in a tournament?

In a tournament, a player will receive the same amount of chips as all other players. That stack is the key to surviving the tournament.

For example, a player in the World Poker Tour Five Diamond Poker Classic at the Bellagio in Las Vegas will spend $10,000 for the entry fee. However, all players start with 40,000 chips. The trend in poker in recent years has been for more chips, allowing for longer play.

With blinds starting at a tiny 100/100, players have a huge stack in relation to the blinds. This offers players much more play for their money. The number of chips can also be considered arbitrary.

But tournament officials have worked to meet player demand for bigger starting stacks.

How many chips should a player get in a cash game?

In a cash game, a player’s chip stack is directly representative of the starting stack. As you win or lose, that stack can grow or decrease. For a $1/$2 No Limit Hold’em cash game, a player might buy into the game for $200. That would be about 100 times the big blind.

That player’s chips would represent the actual cash value of that $200. If that player loses $20 in chips that night, he will cash out for $180.
 
A player having a good night and winning $50 worth of chips would cash out for a nice $250.

How many chips does a player get at the World Series of Poker?

The answer to this depends on the event. With buy-ins ranging from $500 to six figures, players will find larger starting stacks for the high buy-in and more prestigious events.

Players in 2019’s Big 50 started with 50,000 chips of varying colours and values. Blinds started at 100/200 and a 200 big blind ante. This setup gave players a starting stack of 250 big blinds.

The special 50th Annual High Roller event offered players a 300,000-chip starting stack. The blinds started at 1,000/1,000 and a big blind ante of 1,000. This gives players a stack worth 300 big blinds. Generally, the higher the buy-in, the more chips a player gets.

What are the different types of poker chips?

When buying chips there are generally four types of poker chips. A few are more prevalent than others.

  • Plastic chips are made cheaply and not a solid option for anyone looking to play some serious poker. 
  • Composite clay chips are exceedingly popular and fairly inexpensive. They are easy to find and can be perfect for a night of poker with friends. 
  • Composite chips have a solid feel and are easy to slide across a poker felt.
  • Ceramic chips are of an even a higher quality and smooth to the touch. These chips are also more easily customised for your own individual graphics. 
  • Lastly, metal, or pewter chips are rare, but can make for a unique set for a home game. This style of chip is durable and can give your game a real feeling of the Old West.

See here our web story about standard poker chips.